Pro-life ac­tivist sees ad­ver­tis­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion from Twit­ter

Live Ac­tion mes­sages deemed ‘hate con­tent’

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION - BY BRAD­FORD RICHARDSON

Pro-life groups are free to ad­ver­tise on Twit­ter — as long as they don’t talk about what abor­tion is, show pic­tures of ul­tra­sounds or crit­i­cize Planned Par­ent­hood.

That’s what Lila Rose, president of Live Ac­tion, said Twit­ter’s ad pol­icy against “hate con­tent” amounts to. She said the so­cial me­dia com­pany has for years sought to pre­vent Live Ac­tion from pro­mot­ing pro-life con­tent through paid ad­ver­tis­ing, even as Planned Par­ent­hood is given free rein to reach mas­sive au­di­ences.

“I think it’s clear that Twit­ter is dis­crim­i­nat­ing against the pro-life voice,” Ms. Rose said. “Planned Par­ent­hood is al­lowed to pro­mote their pro-abor­tion and mis­lead­ing mes­sages, while Live Ac­tion is barred from pro­mot­ing any con­tent ex­pos­ing abor­tion and Planned Par­ent­hood.”

After re­peated vi­o­la­tions, she said Twit­ter “com­pletely shut down” Live Ac­tion’s abil­ity to ad­ver­tise on the plat­form.

The Wash­ing­ton Times has ob­tained emails show­ing ex­am­ples of tweets that were deemed un­ac­cept­able by both Twit­ter ad bots and the Twit­ter sales team.

One tweet, sent from Ms. Rose’s per­sonal ac­count on Jan. 18, said Planned Par­ent­hood is “about abor­tion, not women’s health care.” It in­cluded a short, all-text video ques­tion­ing the ex­tent of Planned Par­ent­hood’s non­abor­tion health care ser­vices.

“Let’s set the record straight: [Planned Par­ent­hood] is about abor­tion, not women’s health care,” Ms. Rose said in the tweet. “We can fund more wor­thy clin­ics in­stead.”

That tweet was flagged by an ad bot for vi­o­lat­ing Twit­ter’s “Hate, sen­si­tive top­ics, and vi­o­lence” ad­ver­tise­ment pol­icy, ac­cord­ing to an email no­ti­fi­ca­tion.

The pol­icy pro­hibits, among other things, “In­flam­ma­tory con­tent which is likely to evoke a strong neg­a­tive re­ac­tion or cause harm.”

A spokesper­son for Twit­ter said the com­pany does not take ide­ol­ogy into ac­count when en­forc­ing its ad­ver­tise­ment pol­icy.

“Twit­ter has clear, trans­par­ent rules that ev­ery ad­ver­tiser is re­quired to fol­low,” the spokesper­son said in an email, “and the po­lit­i­cal view­points of an or­ga­ni­za­tion do not im­pact how th­ese rules are ap­plied.”

When asked why the Jan. 18 tweet was un­ac­cept­able, the spokesper­son did not re­spond.

Other tweets deemed to run afoul of Twit­ter’s ad pol­icy in­cluded a video fact-checking Planned Par­ent­hood Fed­er­a­tion of Amer­ica President Ce­cile Richards, a map of the United States show­ing the avail­abil­ity of non-Planned Par­ent­hood women’s health cen­ters, Ms. Rose say­ing a child has a right to life and Ms. Rose quot­ing Thomas Jef­fer­son, Live Ac­tion said.

Ad­di­tional emails showed mem­bers of Twit­ter’s sales team flag­ging tweets about the un­der­cover video in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Planned Par­ent­hood con­ducted by the Cen­ter for Med­i­cal Progress.

A Live Ac­tion em­ployee ac­cused Twit­ter of en­forc­ing its pol­icy “in­con­sis­tently,” point­ing to “com­pa­ra­ble tweets from or­ga­ni­za­tions that, to our knowl­edge, have not been flagged by Twit­ter as hav­ing been in vi­o­la­tion of the sen­si­tive ad­ver­tis­ing con­tent pol­icy.”

“From our per­spec­tive, it ap­pears as though your pol­icy is be­ing ap­plied in­con­sis­tently,” the em­ployee said in an email. “We would like to un­der­stand why, if that is the case, and what we can do to move for­ward in our part­ner­ship.”

A mem­ber of Twit­ter’s sales team re­fused to com­ment “on the Tweets of other or­ga­ni­za­tions and whether or not they’ve been flagged in the past or are cur­rently un­der re­view.”

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